The history of Kreuzbund

The history of Kreuzbund

Kreuzbund has its origin in the Catholic church. Father Josef Neumann founded the organization in Aachen in 1896 to counteract the widespread misery caused by alcoholism at that time, following the traditions of the temperance movement.

As a result, Kreuzbund remained an abstinent society into the 1960s. Members practiced solidarity and lived an alcohol-free life, even though the majority were not themselves addicts. In 1957 the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognized alcohol addiction as an illness, and the German Social Court followed suit in 1968. This official support proved to be an important factor in the self-help assistance programme for addicts. It meant that addicts now had a right to treatment of their illness (detox and therapy). As a result Kreuzbund changed from being an abstinence movement to a society offering self-help to addicts and their families; addicts took on leading positions within the organization.

Today, addicts and their dependents together organize group work locally as well as influencing the work of the self-help organization on a national level, supported by a few professional employees. The transformation from temperance movement to self-help association reached its climax in 2004 when a non-addicted relative was voted national chairman and the society’s charter was changed, removing the obligatory abstinence clause for non-addicted dependents.